Connecting the dots between Engineers and Electrical Contractors

WA_Sparky

Member
I'm starting this thread hoping for the electrical contractors out there to give some critical feed back on their past projects. I recently took on a standards committee role and would like to make our prints as user friendly as possible.

What are some things you like about certain prints?
What do you want to avoid seeing (ex:feeder schedule call outs vs noted on prints)?
Any design practices you see that make your job difficult?
More or less keynotes?
Circuiting methods you'd prefer over another method (multiple circuits on one homerun, single circuit homeruns, tagged equip with circuit info)?
Constructability ideas that lower job cost, save labor time, and still comply to code?

I know this might be pretty vague but I'm hoping it will make some EC's job easier. Thank you for everyone's input.
 

bkludecke

Senior Member
Personally I would prefer that the plans show more of what needs to happen and let the EC figure out how to make it happen. The EC should be perfectly capable of figuring out the best way to run feeders, branch circuits, and home runs in compliance with codes and industry standards. Unless the job has a really 'on the ball' project manager who is non-negotiable, we usually will run things as the project dictates which is frequently a bit different from the plans anyway.
 
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FionaZuppa

Senior Member
Personally I would prefer that the plans show more of what needs to happen and let the EC figure out how to make it happen. The EC should be perfectly capable of figuring out the best way to run feeders, branch circuits, and home runs in compliance with codes and industry standards. Unless the job has a really 'on the ball' project manager who is non-negotiable, we usually will run things as the project dictates which is frequently a bit different from the plans anyway.
But shouldn't the engineers already have everything "the best way", or "that way for a reason". The contractors are the hands-on folks, the engineers ink the plans.

I have seen in the past where the engineer tells contractor, "need a post here to support this roof end", so the contractor builds a post 100x stronger than what's actually needed. Contractor did good, built a hefty strong post, but it's what we would call "over engineered", and costs more.

But to be fair, your skills may be well advanced beyond others. You may know much more than many others on best way to run something, but then the other less skilled EC may not. So is it not just best to "follow the plans"?
 

ActionDave

Moderator
Staff member
But shouldn't the engineers already have everything "the best way", or "that way for a reason". ....
Thirty years in the trades and I have never seen that happen. Not only that have I never seen it happen I consider it an unreasonable expectation.
 

ActionDave

Moderator
Staff member
I'm starting this thread hoping for the electrical contractors out there to give some critical feed back on their past projects. I recently took on a standards committee role and would like to make our prints as user friendly as possible.

What are some things you like about certain prints?
What do you want to avoid seeing (ex:feeder schedule call outs vs noted on prints)?
Any design practices you see that make your job difficult?
More or less keynotes?
Circuiting methods you'd prefer over another method (multiple circuits on one homerun, single circuit homeruns, tagged equip with circuit info)?
Constructability ideas that lower job cost, save labor time, and still comply to code?

I know this might be pretty vague but I'm hoping it will make some EC's job easier. Thank you for everyone's input.
Stop specing things that are over sized, or have no real benefit, minimum size 3/4" conduit and compression only connectors come to mind, and for heaven's sake go through the boiler plate list and question everything on it.
 

ramsy

Senior Member
Perhaps the most useful task engineers provide with plans, is responding quickly to RFI's in writing when needed by contractors or inspectors.
 

FionaZuppa

Senior Member
Thirty years in the trades and I have never seen that happen. Not only that have I never seen it happen I consider it an unreasonable expectation.
And? After all that time things are still the same way?
I have seen the need for minor changes, but that's expected.

But then this all comes back to the OP's question at hand, understanding the info from the hands-on folks so that engineering can better understand how to make the hands-on easier/better.

If contractors think plans are so bad, then the contractors should also try and be involved at getting the engineering aspects of a job. A kinda 1-stop shop from engineering to installation, etc.
 

ActionDave

Moderator
Staff member
....If contractors think plans are so bad, then the contractors should also try and be involved at getting the engineering aspects of a job. A kinda 1-stop shop from engineering to installation, etc.
We're kind of shut out of the process.
 

electrofelon

Senior Member
Any design practices you see that make your job difficult?
More or less keynotes?
Circuiting methods you'd prefer over another method (multiple circuits on one homerun, single circuit homeruns, tagged equip with circuit info)?
Constructability ideas that lower job cost, save labor time, and still comply to code?
They could quit their membership to the cult of the green wire.
 

WA_Sparky

Member
Thank you all for providing your opinions on this topic. I got some good feed back from you all. Any know where I can get an application to join this Cult of the Green Wire you're all speaking of? :)
 

iceworm

Curmudgeon still using printed IEEE Color Books
You will have to give up any connection to the grounding dirt worshipers.
If you don't have a circular slide rule or a Captain Midnight decoder ring, that's one strike against you.
Although, owning an operational Curta is a bonus
Must understand the difference between "120/208" and "208/120"
Never use the phrase "total 3ph amps"
I'm certain there are other requirements beyond my ken

The Cult of the Green Wire inner circle will allow you to hang around the edges and pay service to the tenents.

I have never seen an application. Actual induction is a midnight abduction with blind fold.
I can neither confirm nor deny:
you will meet the keepers of the 25 ohms of less knowledge
you will be given a get-out-of-jail-free card for the smoothing iron cord police​

More I cannot say
 

ActionDave

Moderator
Staff member
Thank you all for providing your opinions on this topic. I got some good feed back from you all. Any know where I can get an application to join this Cult of the Green Wire you're all speaking of? :)
The Cult of the Green Wire is my pet term used to describe all those that find it necessary to pull a wire equipment grounding conductor in metallic conduit. There is no application or formal initiation just a slavish faith in the green wire. There are a few of us who have managed to not fall prey but I fear by they will have taken over the electrical world by the next generation.
 

ActionDave

Moderator
Staff member
You will have to give up any connection to the grounding dirt worshipers.
If you don't have a circular slide rule or a Captain Midnight decoder ring, that's one strike against you.
Although, owning an operational Curta is a bonus
Must understand the difference between "120/208" and "208/120"
Never use the phrase "total 3ph amps"
I'm certain there are other requirements beyond my ken

The Cult of the Green Wire inner circle will allow you to hang around the edges and pay service to the tenents.

I have never seen an application. Actual induction is a midnight abduction with blind fold.
I can neither confirm nor deny:
you will meet the keepers of the 25 ohms of less knowledge
you will be given a get-out-of-jail-free card for the smoothing iron cord police​

More I cannot say
That's funny stuff right there.
 

electrofelon

Senior Member
You will have to give up any connection to the grounding dirt worshipers.
Why is that? I thought memberships to these two cults often overlapped?

I believe membership to CotGW involves the following core beliefs and principles. They should be reviewed and repeated daily.

1. Equipment grounding is the panacea of electrical safety. No other aspect of an electrical installation comes close in importance.

2. Non wire type EGC's listed in 250.118 are inadequate.

3. Fork lifts destroy raceway continuity pretty much all the time, then people die from shocks. It's only a matter of time until a forklift compromises a raceway system.

Note I am not a member, there may be other core principles. Find more discussion at your local supply house counter while waiting for your order.
 

gadfly56

Senior Member
Stop specing things that are over sized, or have no real benefit, minimum size 3/4" conduit and compression only connectors come to mind, and for heaven's sake go through the boiler plate list and question everything on it.
These requirements are not always from the engineer. If you are dealing with NYC or the Port Authority or a similar entity, they frequently have their own requirements that go beyond code. I have sat in on value engineering projects where we've been able to show the PA they could cut a fire alarm installation cost in half by running EMT instead of RMC, but they wouldn't have it.
 

ActionDave

Moderator
Staff member
These requirements are not always from the engineer. If you are dealing with NYC or the Port Authority or a similar entity, they frequently have their own requirements that go beyond code. I have sat in on value engineering projects where we've been able to show the PA they could cut a fire alarm installation cost in half by running EMT instead of RMC, but they wouldn't have it.
It really is a shame that so much of what goes on in the construction world is based on someone's emotional attachment to a standard or practice instead of what really necessary.
 

iceworm

Curmudgeon still using printed IEEE Color Books
"CotGW" - that's good. Can I use that until you get the copy write?

...
Why is that? I thought memberships to these two cults often overlapped? ...
Nope. Nearly at opposite ends of the spectrum

... 1. Equipment grounding is the panacea of electrical safety. No other aspect of an electrical installation comes close in importance. ...
Not "grounding", rather "bonding".

... 2. Non wire type EGC's listed in 250.118 are inadequate. ...
A true member, or even an associate member of the CotGW would use all as is appropriate for good design.

... 3. Fork lifts destroy raceway continuity pretty much all the time, then people die from shocks. It's only a matter of time until a forklift compromises a raceway system. ...
Well. that's true about the forklifts, along with backhoes, snow plows, mechanical maintenance, gorilla operators, and joint corrosion over time Although rarely anybody dies, just occasionally get bit.

Then there is the problem that once the conduit is compromised, the high impedance low current ground faults really make a mess until the fault goes line to line and then quickly trips.

As for the time, yes eventually.


... Note I am not a member, there may be other core principles. ...
I agree there may be other principles. I can neither confirm nor deny if I am a member of the inner CotGW circle.

However, I am certain I am on the dirt worshiper list of "beat before speech" list.
 

iceworm

Curmudgeon still using printed IEEE Color Books
It really is a shame that so much of what goes on in the construction world is based on someone's emotional attachment to a standard or practice instead of what really necessary.
Yes and some I understand - color me ambivalent :?
  • A couple of the oil company majors wanted 3/4 rsc minimum. Belief is 1/2" breaks much easier at the threads. It's true that after a few years, there are lot of UG rusted, broken, conduits. Not sure if 3/4 made much difference.
And yes, 1/2 conduit threaded into a solidly mounted nema 7 enclosure is a bit wimpy. Maybe 3/4 is better.​
  • #10 CU minimum - never understood that one, especially for controls.
  • #10 and smaller Solid only ???
  • Stranded only. Yep, seen both, luckily it was different companies.
  • copper only transformers, dry type, 500KVA down to just above control transformers.
I'm in the aluminum camp. Been fighting this one for well over 20 years. Never convinced anyone, but I finally outlived the old guard.​

I'm sure there are dozens more. These are the short list coming to mind
 

myspark

Senior Member
It really is a shame that so much of what goes on in the construction world is based on someone's emotional attachment to a standard or practice instead of what really necessary.

Thirty years in the trades and I have never seen that happen. Not only that have I never seen it happen I consider it an unreasonable expectation.


It really is a shame that so much of what goes on in the construction world is based on someone's emotional attachment to a standard or practice instead of what really necessary.

Thirty years in the trades and I have never seen that happen. Not only that have I never seen it happen I consider it an unreasonable expectation.



................


Those are broad statements that hardly apply in the engineering arena. The kind of shibboleth oozing out of unproven sententious remarks.
 
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